Concert Reports (Sample)

As a reminder, you are to attend two concerts DURING THIS SEMESTER and write a short report about each. At least one of these should be a "classical" concert (symphony, band, choir, chamber music, solo recital, opera, musical theater, etc.). The first is due around mid-term (check they syllabus) and the second is due the last day of regular classes (before finals week).

A Sample Report

Below is a concert report written by a college student, which should be helpful as an example of content, vocabulary, and usages. (You'll notice that this student has followed a format requested by her instructor.)

Name: Peggy Skipitaris
Course: Introduction to Music
Date: December 9, 1991
Concert: New York Philharmonic (December 3, 1991)

Type of concert: Symphony orchestra

General reaction: I was impressed with the construction of the concert hall—Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center—and with its wonderful acoustics. The visual grandeur of the orchestra and the attentiveness of the audience heightened my sense of excitement.

Composition I likes best: The piece I enjoyed most was Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Op. 28, by Richard Strauss, a one-movement work in rondo form, with various tempos. This symphonic poem was written in 1895—during the romantic era, when program music was prominent—and is based on a German folk tale about a famous prankster. Strauss uses the rondo form as a framework for the episodes of Till's adventures: after each prank, Till laughs at his pursuers and saunters off. When he is finally caught and hanged, his last gesture is to thumb his nose at his executioners. Although the piece deals with death, and such unhappy programs are usually in minor, I hear this composition start in minor but end in major. The meter varies, as does the tempo—which is basically very lively but at times becomes moderate, slower, or even faster.

  This work can be compared with another one-movement symphonic poem that deals with the death of its protagonists: Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet. Tchaikovsky chose sonata (rather than rondo) form; his composition is in minor, the meter is duple, and—as in Till Eulenspiegel—the tempo varies. The basic mood of the two works differs significantly: in Romeo and Juliet, it is love—rather than mischief—that triumphs over death.

  Strauss introduces his hero with a lyrical opening theme (the horn). But the second theme reflects agility, deviltry, energy, and unpredictability. Both themes return often as we hear Till get into and out of "hide and seek" and "catch me if you can" situations. The ending is a grander, more exciting version of Till's first theme. Throughout, Strauss conveys the story and mood by contrasting solo and orchestral passages. The funeral after Till's handing is interrupted several times by Till's horn theme, suggesting his refusal to die.

  In Romeo and Juliet, the slow introduction is a hymn-like melody (Friar Lawrence's theme) which leads to a violent, fast theme that identifies the warring families; Romeo and Juliet themselves are identified by a lovers' theme.

  In both works, funeral music indicates death. Tchaikovsky used Romeo's theme as a dirge but follows it by the gentle lovers' theme which implies that these lovers will be reunited in death. Strauss, on the other hand, concludes Till Eulenspiegel with Till's nose-thumbing theme. Till's spirit—like Romeo's and Juliet's—lives on, but it is obviously a very different kind of spirit.

  Listening to Romeo and Juliet brought me close to tears, while Till Eulenspiegel brought a smile to my lips.

Performance of this work: Wonderful! I was glad that Till Eulenspiegel was the final work on the program, as it left me in a very uplifted mood. I marveled at the fact that, through his music, Strauss enabled me to see the actions described in the program.

Overall performance: Totally professional in every respect.